In an attempt to head-off at least one source of disappointment at the pass, I would like to make clear that this post will not discuss cocktails – so please put your whisky and Drambuie away (unless they help you make it through the day or this blog).
In recent days, this blog has been concerned with the possibility that I may be one of the undead – an idea which I had largely discounted, but recent events suggest I may have been too quick (pun fully intended) to judge.
As I may have mentioned, I am part of a large scale medical experiment to see how frequently one can gorge on biscuits after a brief siesta without adverse consequences. OK, I’ll admit the nap and biscuit feast are only side-effects of the real process – the giving of my blood (470ml – or a whole armful as I believe it is in Imperial units – per session). In the old days, this could happen every 16 weeks, but in recent years has increased to every 12 weeks. As part of the Interval Study, volunteers were randomly assigned to a group giving blood every 8, 10 or 12 weeks to see how well this works. I have been part of M10, giving my blood every 10 weeks for the past 18 months or so.
On Thursday, I went up to Cambridge for my latest donation – but when the tiny sample from the pricking of my thumbs (OK, middle – or bird – finger) was popped into a tube of copper sulphate it floated (rather than rapidly drowned as usual). This indicates that I may be a witch, but in these modern times one is not condemned quite so easily and so a larger sample was subjected to a spectrometer test. This too confirmed that I was a witch – or at least that my haemoglobin was too low. It was even too low for a woman (sorry ladies, but biology is no respecter of equality) and so my blood is off-limits – in fact, I have been placed on the bench for a full twelve months (a long time to go without a Bourbon or Club). Still, in the olden days I would have been burnt at the stake, so I guess I shouldn’t complain too much.
It is unknown why my haemoglobin is so low – we have established that it is not because I am a marathon runner (as if!) nor because I drink too much tea (the tannin in which can line the stomach and prevent absorption of iron) as my peak consumption of three cups per day is very low (by UK standards at least). Whilst I am (mostly) vegetarian and so do not obtain much iron from the flesh of others, my balanced diet is rich in sources of iron from the plant kingdom (perhaps rather too rich in some cases) usually accompanied by something rich in vitamin C (and quite a lot of cheese).
I have to say that without the test, I would have had no idea that I was low on iron. I have not been finding it any harder than usual to find the north – though I do seem to have been (even) more clumsy than usual of late, could this be haemoglobin related?
Still, despite my lack of symptoms (except this strange craving for human blood), this coming week I shall go and see my GP (having first obtained a GP) to discover what, if anything, I need do to restore my iron levels. Well, it’s either that or avoiding sunlight and garlic and taking an interest in virginal necks. I suppose that I do wear quite a lot of black and am permanently hungry, so I have some of the basics for life as a vampire. Plus, I’m pretty sure that if anyone drove a stake (or even a steak) through my heart it would kill me. However, I am generally of the view that immortality is even less desirable than the alternative, so let’s hope that a new career as a blood-sucking fiend is not in the offing.